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Council agrees to accept Rodenberg’s resignation
Fredericksburg City Manager Phillip Rodenberg will resign his post, effective by the end of Friday.
The City Council voted to accept Rodenberg’s resignation after a three-and-a-half-hour closed session that ended just after midnight on Wednesday morning.
The closed meeting and Rodenberg’s resignation both came as a result of a personal relationship between Rodenberg and Economic Development Manager Kim Schill, which council members learned about on Friday, after a city resident first disclosed it.
That relationship, between the city manager, who is ultimately responsible for hiring and firing all city employees, and Schill, an employee in a department in the organization he leads, was deemed a significant personnel problem by council members.
They voted 6-0 to authorize City Attorney Kathleen Dooley to prepare an agreement between Rodenberg and the city.
Under that agreement, the council will accept Rodenberg’s resignation, and Rodenberg will release all claims against the city. Rodenberg will receive a severance package equal to 16 weeks of his $141,000 annual salary, plus health insurance benefits and the lump-sum payment of accrued vacation and sick leave balances.
Vice Mayor Kerry Devine was absent from Tuesday night’s meeting.
For the foreseeable future, Beverly Cameron, who has been Fredericksburg’s assistant city manager since 1986, will serve as acting city manager, a role Cameron has filled several times over the years as Fredericksburg has sought changes in the office of its chief executive.
Cameron led the council through Tuesday night’s regular City Council meeting, which Rodenberg did not attend until the closed session to discuss his future.
Rodenberg will report to the office to finish up several tasks before Friday, including a few employee evaluations, Mayor Tom Tomzak said.
Rodenberg, 48, has been Fredericksburg’s city manager since July 2003. He was previously deputy town manager of Leesburg.
Tomzak said Tuesday night’s decision and the five days—including
Easter weekend—that council members spent processing the news of Rodenberg and Schill’s relationship were extremely difficult.
“You have someone we respect very much, somebody who is very talented,” Tomzak said of Rodenberg. “It’s been one of the most difficult things we’ve had to do. … We all wish we were not in this place, but the council tonight had to do what was best for the city.”
Tomzak said the council had not yet thought about when or how it might look for a new city manager.
“We’ve got complete confidence in Mr. Cameron, he is well-respected in City Hall,” he said. “We are going to have to come together on a plan on how we are going to have a city manager. We haven’t given it a lot of thought yet.”
Tomzak said he had heard from city residents on Tuesday who said they believed Rodenberg had done a good job, and would be a loss to the city.
He said he agreed with that, but that the council and Rodenberg came to the conclusion after Tuesday night’s negotiations that Rodenberg’s resignation would be best for Fredericksburg.
Rodenberg was not available for comment at Tuesday night’s meeting.
Tomzak said he thought city business should continue to run smoothly amid the transition.
“The citizens of Fredericksburg should know the day-to-day activities of the city will continue to occur and our core services are still intact,” he said. “The city will move on from this.”